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Forums / Technical / Ballast repair  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 29 Mar 2008 at 2:11pm
Before I purchased my Yankee Dolphin last year, the surveyor found a crack running abeam at the bottom and top of the keel. He surmised that this was from a grounding at some point. He said it was not a critical issue, but that salt water could eventually degrade the fiberglass in the keel. For the record, I taste no salt in the bilge water.

If I remember my surveyor's suggestions correctly, I should do the following:
--During a haulout, grind down into each crack.
--Develop some way to run acetone through the crack to displace any water that is in there.
--Fill and glass the cracks.
I'm about to do a haulout. My boatwright, who is suspicious of this advice, is asking what kind of ballast I have with an eye towards some sort of repair.

So my forum questions are:
--Is this a lead keel? Is the lead likely cracked? Does that matter?
--What should I do?


Posted: 30 Mar 2008 at 8:04pm
Hi Eric
Yankee's 1967 sales brochure says they have 1650 lbs lead ballast. Builders were notorious for putting "every thing but the kitchen sink in their internal ballast" but I don't think Yankee was one of those builders. You could drill a couple of test holes to check if this is a serious concern.

Lead is a great shock absorber and is unlikely to be cracked, heavily dented maybe if the grounding contact was severe. Such a grounding would have caused some significant fiberglass damage that your surveyor could have seen. My marine surveyor's ticket never got punched but if you see no evidence of internal stress around the bilge/hull area I'd go with what your surveyor said.

Do what extra you can to be sure the inside surface of the fiberglass surrounding the keel is dry - maybe overkill with the acetone method but you may sleep better. Depending on how long you are planning to be out of the water a drying out program (low temp heaters) and drilling a few holes in likely drain areas to either let out water or at least confirm there is none.

Good Luck and keep us posted on what happens

Ron Breault

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